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Property division shouldn’t include your child’s belongings

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Property Division

When couples are working out the property division agreement in their divorce, they often ask how they should go about dividing their child’s belongings. Is it based on who actually paid for something or who most often plays with it with their child?

There’s really only one answer that puts the child’s best interests at the forefront: You don’t divide them. They belong to your child.

If you’re sharing custody of your child, it can help to think of one big roof covering both of your homes – no matter how far apart they are. This is your child’s home. They should be able to play with, use, wear or just look at anything that’s theirs without worrying that they’ll hurt either parent’s feelings or make them angry.

The same is true for things you buy your child in the future

This goes not just for things your child has when you divorce but for anything one of you buys for them afterwards. With the holidays coming up, you’ll likely both be giving your child presents. No child should be told they can’t take a game their father bought them to their mother’s house, nor should their mother tell them they can’t wear something their father bought them when they’re at “her” house. There may be exceptions, such as a violent video game or toy gun you don’t approve of – assuming you can’t get your co-parent to agree not to buy these things.

Certainly, you can’t have your child packing up all their belongings when they transition between homes. There should be enough things in both homes to keep your child entertained and occupied. Things they need wherever they are – like bedding, toiletries, wardrobe basics and a computer – should be in both homes.

You can address your child’s property in your parenting plan with a simple provision stating something to the effect that it’s theirs to have in whatever home they choose. You may also want to detail what kinds of things both parents will keep in their home for their child (like those mentioned above). With sound legal guidance, you can work out language that prevents conflict and confusion and focuses on the needs of your child.